SOURCE: Heart and Stroke Foundation

Heart and Stroke Foundation

June 09, 2015 08:00 ET

Four Cardiac Arrests, Four Lives Saved in Canadian Arenas in April

Federal Government Partnership With Heart and Stroke Foundation Placing AEDs in Canadian Communities

OTTAWA, ON--(Marketwired - June 09, 2015) - A ground-breaking partnership to install defibrillators in Canadian rinks and recreation centres saved the lives of four Canadians over a span of just a few weeks in April. In each of these four instances, cardiac arrests occurred in an arena setting. Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs), installed under the National AED initiative, were called into action and, in conjunction with CPR, helped keep the victims alive until emergency medical help arrived.

The initiative is a partnership of the Heart and Stroke Foundation and the Government of Canada, and has already resulted in placement of more than 2,100 AEDs in arenas and recreation facilities across the country at no cost. Through this program, more than 14,000 people have learned the basics of using an AED and performing CPR. The program is just entering its final year, and is expected to exceed the original goal of 2,000 AEDs installed, with most recent forecasts at 2,500 AEDs and 25,000 Canadians trained.

"From the start, we recognized that arenas and recreational centres are at the heart of our communities. They are the places where Canadians gather for healthy physical activity, entertainment and socializing but, unfortunately, they are also hot spots for cardiac arrest," says Mike Hoffman, Manager of AED Programs for the Heart and Stroke Foundation. "You can never predict when or where a cardiac arrest will occur, but because these facilities had applied for and received AEDs through this program, lives have been saved."

Here are four life-transforming stories that took place during April in just two of the many facilities that have taken advantage of the National AED initiative:

  • On April 1st, 2015, a 55-year-old man playing hockey at the Wilmot Recreation Complex Twin Pad Arena in Baden, ON went to the bench. When he was found slumped down between bench and floor, teammates moved him to an open area and one ran to get the AED. Other players called 9-1-1 and started CPR. EMS arrived on the scene approximately five minutes after the 9-1-1 call was placed.
  • At the same facility just a few weeks later, a 63-year-old man collapsed on the ice surface while playing hockey. His teammates responded quickly, using an AED and initiating CPR after calling 9-1-1. He was successfully transferred to hospital for further treatment.
  • Rogers Arena in Vancouver has installed several AEDs through this initiative, each strategically located so that all places in the facility -- ice surface, locker rooms and spectator areas -- are no more than 3 minutes away from an AED. The Arena is primarily a hockey and sports facility, but like many other such buildings across Canada, is frequently used for other events. It was at one such event -- a country star Eric Church concert -- that the careful selection of locations for AEDs helped save the lives of two women who suffered cardiac arrest within a 10-minute time span. Rogers Arena management attribute saving both lives to the placement of their new AEDs as well as the staff training that took place through the National AED Program.

"This is tangible proof that we can save lives by improving public access to AEDs and having more people ready and willing to use them," says Hoffman. "Ultimately, we want to make AEDs as common as fire extinguishers."

"We know AEDs work -- these incredible stories about the lives of four individuals being saved with these devices proves the value of making them accessible. That's why we've partnered with the Heart and Stroke Foundation to make this possible," said the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health. "I encourage all recreational arenas in Canada to apply for an AED through the National AED initiative so that together we can expand the availability of AEDS in Canada and continue saving lives."

An AED is a safe and easy-to-use piece of equipment that helps re-set the heartbeat after a cardiac arrest. They are easy to use, guiding people who may never have seen one before with voice prompts and instruction. They cannot deliver a shock by accident so there is no risk of harming the victim.

Does your arena or community facility need an AED?

Your neighbourhood rink or recreation facility may be eligible to receive funding to install an AED and to teach staff and key users in the skills of CPR and AED.

There is still time to apply for your community AED. Here's how:

  • Additional questions about the Foundation's AED programs can be sent to:

The Heart and Stroke Foundation's mission is to prevent disease, save lives and promote recovery. A volunteer-based health charity, we strive to tangibly improve the health of every Canadian family, every day. Healthy lives free of heart disease and stroke. Together we will make it happen.

The Public Health Agency of Canada was created to deliver on the Government of Canada's commitment to help protect the health and safety of all Canadians. Its activities focus on preventing chronic diseases, like cancer and heart disease, preventing injuries and responding to public health emergencies and infectious disease outbreaks.

Contact Information

  • For more information or interviews, please contact:

    Rhae Ann Bromley